Texas reacts to surprising Alamo Bowl victory over Utah

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SAN ANTONIO, Texas (KXAN) — The Texas Longhorns did it again. Texas pulled off another upset in a bowl game with the 38-10 victory over No. 12 Utah in the Alamo Bowl Tuesday night.

Texas head coach Tom Herman is the first Longhorns’ coach to win his first three bowl games. The Longhorns have been underdogs in all three games.

Herman and his players met with the media following the win against the Utes.

Opening Statement

“Certainly hats off to the University of Utah. Very classy organization in our dealings with them throughout the bowl week. You don’t win 11 games in the regular season without being a well-coached team. I have a ton of respect for Coach Whittingham. Very impressive coach. I look forward to continuing a relationship with him. Hats off to our fans.

Wow, that certainly felt like a home game…what an awesome job for them to come support us. Finally our players…wow, did they play hard and we knew that’s what it was going to take. We knew this was going to be the most physical team we played all year. The guys enjoyed the bowl experience the entire month leading up to it. They had fun with each other and they bonded. When it was time to work, they worked their tails off and couldn’t be prouder of the way they played tonight. Just so impressed by them.”

How to consistently play with a physical approach in every game:

“We’ve got to be healthy. We’re not at a point yet where our depth is where it needs to be and it’s got to be a mentality that permeates the whole organization. I don’t have the answers to get that done. This was an unbelievable learning experience for a lot of those freshmen and sophomores…we had our ups and downs with that crew this season. I think the light bulb went on as to what it takes to win and I’m excited to carry those lessons into the offseason.”

How many bowl game practices?

“We only practiced eight times. We like to have fun during bowl prep, we really do.”

(To Joseph Ossai) On defensive performance:

“It was just us having fun. It was us having confidence in the defensive scheme. We just trusted them, we bought in 100%. The key thing tonight was executing. I’ve done a poor job of executing at a high level in the past.

(To Malcolm Roach) On defensive performance:

I’m just so proud of us. The eight practices we basically learned a new defense. Joe (Ossai) and I switching sides every play. They tried to play real physical with us and we answered the challenge. The way we got down to defense…it was something I’ll never forget.”

Players acting like professionals during distractions:

“You’ve got three captains up here and one future captain and a lot of leaders in that locker room. Distractions are only bad if you let them be. These guys did a good job of tuning out the noise. Craig Naivar and that defensive staff did an unbelievable job getting these guys ready. It would’ve been human nature for coaches and players to scatter especially knowing that the regular season was not what we had hoped. We knew we had three weeks to rectify some of the wrongs. These guys are competitors and they want to win and they want to be put in the best position to win. I can’t say enough about the leadership in the locker room.”

(To Ehlinger) How did they play so well against Utah defense:

“We knew coming into it that they were an incredible front seven. The offensive line knew they had to win their match-ups and I think they did exactly that. All credit goes up front. Those are some really talented all-american defensive players.”

Staying focused past distractions:

“It’s a credit to our coaching. There was never any sense of…it was very professional. We knew the opportunity we had to play such an incredible team and we knew the opportunity and guys were mature about that. We wanted to finish it off right for these seniors. I would say they’ve built the foundation back to where we’re playing better football. It’s a testament to their character and who they are as people and these are the guys that stayed so everybody wanted to play for them.”

On performance of linebacker Cort Jaquess:

“Cort’s a great story. If there was a scout team player of the year award, he would’ve won it back-to-back years. He sees the game really well. We knew that we were going to be short in that area especially with Joe and Jeff playing close to the line of scrimmage. We were going to need him to be in that rotation and he came through in a big way.”

On the defensive game plan and Craig Naivar:

“Game day consists of a lot of walk-through’s. We had two walk-through’s today…Coach Naivar had great juice. It was basically a run through because we were so ready to play. Just being able to fly around and make plays and have that swagger. Just have fun doing it and the way ball is supposed to be played…to celebrate with your teammates. That confidence just rolled the whole game. The ultimate goal is to win a national championship or a conference championship and we didn’t do that…but we won three bowl games.

My class, we had a humongous class, we signed a lot of people and there’s not a lot left. It just shows what you can do with your brothers. I couldn’t be more proud of everybody in my class.”

What is it about you in bowl games?

“There’s an element of simplification. You want to be simple but not predictable. That’s the best way to describe winning defense. You don’t want to play 100% of the same thing or you’re going to get schemed up. I thought our third and long package was at its best. I thought Coach Naivar had a great game plan and these guys bought into it and they flew around.

As for me in bowl games, I don’t know. I’ve had really good players. I’ve always had a philosophy of having fun. You’re talking about a month in between ball games…the first week and a half…they’re focused on passing finals. I think we have really good coaches when given extra time can find weaknesses. Our kids buy in.”

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